Make Your Own Peppermint Oil – The Best Insect Repellent

Rhona Reid
By Rhona Reid October 1, 2017 08:33

Make Your Own Peppermint Oil – The Best Insect Repellent

Mint is one of the easiest herbs to grow, often taking over patches of the garden if left unchecked.

Fresh or dried, all mint varieties have myriad uses.  This recipe highlights one of the medicinal qualities of mint – using the extract as a natural insect repellent.

You can use dried mint leaves if you prefer – the extract (not strictly speaking an essential oil) will work just as well.  It’s also a great way of dealing with a few handfuls of out-of-control herb!

You’ll need:

  • Quantity of fresh or dried mint leaves – around three handfuls
  • Alcohol such as vodka, at least 80% proof – enough to fill your jar
  • Clean jar with lid
  • Brown/blue glass bottle to store

Related: Lost Remedies from Our Forefathers


#1. If using fresh mint leaves, pick on a dry, preferably sunny morning. If you know pesticides or herbicides haven’t contaminated the leaves, then just give them a good shake and check for any lurking insects.  How To Make Peppermint Oil – the Natural Insect Repellent 1Otherwise, give them a wash in clean water and pat dry on kitchen towels.How To Make Peppermint Oil – the Natural Insect Repellent 2

#2. Pick off the leaves and tear or chop them into pieces.How To Make Peppermint Oil – the Natural Insect Repellent 3

#3. Pack the leaves into your jar and pour over the alcohol, leaving around 2 cm of headroom.

How To Make Peppermint Oil – the Natural Insect Repellent 6

Give the jar a shake and store somewhere dark.How To Make Peppermint Oil – the Natural Insect Repellent 7

#4. Leave for 3 – 5 weeks, shaking the jar every few days.How To Make Peppermint Oil – the Natural Insect Repellent 8

#5. Once the mint oils have been fully infused with the alcohol – taste a drop to test its strength – strain the liquid and discard the leaves. How To Make Peppermint Oil – the Natural Insect Repellent 9The tincture is usable at this stage, but can be poured into a clean dish, covered and left to evaporate for a few days to give a more concentrated extract.

#6. Pour into an opaque glass bottle – an empty, washed medicine bottle is ideal – preferably with a dropper lid, and use as needed.How To Make Peppermint Oil – the Natural Insect Repellent 12

Related: The Only Plant That Should Be in Your First Aid Kit

Use as a Flavoring or Natural Insect Repellent

Mint extract can be used as a flavoring for tea, hot chocolate, baking and more, but it’s true power lies in it’s medicinal qualities.  Mix a few drops with a carrier oil such as avocado to make a natural insect repellent that you can apply to the skin.  You can also soak cotton wool balls with the tincture and place them wherever you have an insect problem.

Try adding a few drops of mint extract to an un-fragranced salve or balm to massage into your temples to relieve a headache, or add a teaspoon to a hot bath to clear your senses.


The tincture should last for a year, and possibly beyond, if stored in a cool, dark place.  You might find that it’s okay to use beyond this, but the tincture will start to lose potency after around 6 months.

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Rhona Reid
By Rhona Reid October 1, 2017 08:33
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  1. Diana W October 2, 16:25

    Hello, I love all the mints. I grow spearmint for making homemade soap with rosemary. It has a great smell and soap is great too. Diana W.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Shirlgirl October 3, 12:54

    Thank you for this. I planted 2 plants along our irrigation ditch this summer for this very reason. They are filling out nicely. I’m going to make this today.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Cyndi ann October 15, 17:55

    I will be planting some mint myself, then I’ll know it’s fresh and not contaminated. Thank you for this great info.

    Reply to this comment
  4. Anna Mae October 16, 18:42

    Mint essential oil doesn’t work as well for me as tea tree oil!! Tea tree oil works both to repel mosquitoes and bees but also works better than anything I’ve tried for itching after getting bit or stung!

    Reply to this comment
  5. plucknpick November 1, 23:56

    I hated mowing the lawn, so I planted Peppermint and let it grow into the lawn! Bugs though? Not enough to keep all of them away all the time. The City of Los Angeles learned that hard lesson…banned all insecticides. The outrage later when everyone was getting ticks and fleas on the soccer fields was enough to restart some spraying. Keep experimenting though…The Victorians (later 1800’s had lots of tricks to keep bugs away….but your going to have to study up- there is a LOT of information in old books.

    Reply to this comment
  6. wandamurline October 22, 15:11

    I love mint. I have several different flavors, but I have learned to plant them in containers. They grow in containers fine and because they are contained, I don’t have to worry about them taking over my flower beds.

    Reply to this comment
  7. InkBlott October 22, 15:29

    can I use rubbing alcohol . . . ?

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    • ronny1503 October 23, 00:50

      If using only on skin or as bug repellent, rubbing alcohol in 91% strength is good. I f you want flavoring, always use a strong vodka; rubbing alcohol is poison if drunk. Always use vodka if there are children in the home, just in case of childish experimentation.

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